Perhaps no season means as much to kids as summer. The weather is warm, the sun is shining, and the school year seems far, far away.
But summer can be a wonderful time for older adults too, especially when it’s spent with their grandkids. You know that the start of school isn’t as far off as it seems; help the seniors and children in your life get the most out of summer while they can! Here are a few exciting activities they (and you!) can do together.
Warm-weather Pastimes for Grandparents and Grandkids
See if your family members are interested in any of the following:
Lemonade for sale!
A lemonade stand can be a great small business[1. “7 Reasons You HAVE to Let Your Kids Start a Lemonade Stand,” June 26, 2015, https://www.surpriseride.com/blog/extra-fun/7-reasons-let-kids-start-lemonade-stand/] for grandparents and grandkids to run together. In addition to spending time with older adults, it teaches children the value of money. It can also help both the older adult and child become more engaged in the community as neighbors stop by to chat.
Going to the library is a great activity any time of year, but especially during the summer. In addition to checking out books, many libraries have summer reading programs for kids[2. “The Importance of Summer Reading,” November 2011, https://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/summer/research.htm] with their own activities — and even prizes! And for older adults with low vision, audio books and large print options can open up a world of possibilities.
Grow, baby, grow!
It’s not too late in the year to get kids and grandparents planting fruits, vegetables, and flowers in the garden. Tools now come in child sizes, and with mom or dad helping, kids can (finally!) dig in the dirt to their hearts’ content. This saves grandma or grandpa the trouble of having to get on their hands and knees, especially if doing so isn’t feasible for them. But they can still join in by picking out plants, supervising, and reaping the harvest afterward.
Drive right in
Although no longer as prevalent as they once were, drive-in movies still exist in some areas — and can be kid-friendly too! Or if you can’t find one, see which local towns might have “movie in the park nights.” Many of these events are free. Seniors and children can still get the benefits of fresh air, as well as enjoy an evening under the stars. It sure beats sitting in a stale, cramped theater with the air conditioning turned up too high!
Milk summer for all its worth
Making milkshakes is an unbeatable summertime crowd-pleaser. Bear in mind that for this fun task, you may need a blender. Children will likely require supervision or assistance with this tool. Older adults might as well if they have a condition that makes household tasks difficult, like poor vision, arthritis, or generalized weakness.
Don’t Let Anything Stop Older Adults from Having a Super Summer
Many summer activities can be done independently, at least where the grown-ups are concerned. But what do you do when the older adult in your life has trouble performing basic tasks, let alone do things like operating a car for the drive-in? With your own job and responsibilities, you can’t be there every second of the day to make sure they connect with the grandkids.
The solution may be to hire a home health aide — at least for a few hours a week. In addition to light cooking and cleaning, they often provide transportation. They fill in the gaps when you can’t be with your loved one, helping older adults spend time with their younger companions safely.
Seniors and Children Go Together Like Sunscreen and Flip Flops!
Children have a way of helping adults see the world through new eyes, making them perfect partners for their grandparents. The next time the kids complain that they’re bored, or your own mom or dad says “No one ever visits me,” put these two groups together. You could say that seniors and children just go together naturally — like summer and fun!
If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you make that decision and gain the best in at-home care for older adults. Contact us to find out more.